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November 02, 1995 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-02

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hanadian leaders
truggle to unify
ation after vote

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 2, 1995 - 7A

Angeles Times
TTAWA - The government of
adian Prime Minister Jean Chretien
ggledfuriously amidmounting criti-
yesterday to improvise a solution
e national unity crisis triggered by
bec's near-plunge into secession.
this normally placid capital, high
ion has accompanied fears that the
Monday in the French-speaking
ince - in which separation was
ted by only 50.6 percent to 49.4
nt - will turn out to be a dress
lforanother,successful attempt
ebec's separatists.
e crisis is testing Canada's well-
wn civility. Exchanges on the floor
arliament yesterday were among
most vitriolic in. recent memory,
considerablename-calling, fipger-
ting, desk-pounding and heckling.
retien is lobbying provincial pre-
rs, meeting with advisers and brain-
ing his Cabinet in search of a
cy that will quell Quebec's separat-
endencies but notsalienate the rest of
country.
e prime minister is under pressure
ffgr something to mollify those
begers who arenothard-core sepa-
ts, but who voted in favor ofseces-
out of frustration with the status
. Some pollsters estimate that these
rs accounted for as much as 30
ent of the pro-separatist total.
oreover, he would like to. move
kly, trying to head off any renewed
rts by the separatists and taking
antage of the open-mindedness to-
d Quebec inspired in the rest of the
ntry by its near-death experience.
ut the obstacles facing Chretien are
idable, and include the fact that he
politically damaged by what is
ashisless-than-astuteperformance
he Quebec campaign. One telling
is that Chretien's home district of
winigan, which he has represented
arliament for most of 33 years,
rehewasbornandraisedandwhere
father was a Liberal Party stalwart,
Monday in favor of secession.
peaking at a Liberal Party fund-
er in Toronto last night, Chretien
inded listeners who had won Mon-
and hinted he might not counte-
ce another referendum on Quebec
endence.
We cannot play the game that there
be a referendum every six months
ear or two years ...," he said. "This
ntry has the right to political stabil-
nd astheprimeministerofCanada,
ill make sure we have political sta-
ty in the land ...
I will do whatisneededto keep this
atry together."
esolving the Quebec conundrum is a

AP PHOTO
Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau puts his resignation speech away Tuesday. He will step down at the
end of the fail pariiamentary session as Lucien Bouchard is expected to assume provincial leadership.
i m oitiesang ed
by, remarks, fear reprisl

South Africans
stream to polis
in historic vote
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - Voters re-
shaped South Africa yesterday, putting blacks in charge of
cities and towns that had once been white preserves.
It was the first time South Africa has had local elections
with all the country's races taking part and only the second
time blacks have been allowed to vote.
Thefirst,in April 1994,broughsPresident Nelson Mandela
to power and ended white minority rule at the national level.
But at the local level there were still no black elected
officials, although some black mayors hadbeen appointed as
transitional leaders.
"This is the completion of the democratic process that we
began" last year, Mandela said on a visit to a polling station
in the Atteridgeville black township outside Pretoria.
Voting foralmost 700 local and rural councils was marred
in some areas by improper ballots, late officials and even a
hungry elephant. Some people went to the wrong polling
stations or found their names were not on the registration
lists, slowing the process and provoking angry confronta-
tions.
Election officials expressed satisfaction with the voting,
calling it generally smoother than the problem-plagued na-
tional vote last year. But in some areas, long lines formed
outside the polling places and the slow pace meant voting
continued well after polls were to have closed.
"I want to live in a safe place, to be comfortable. To have
a house, a street," said Winnie Cebu, a student living in a
squatter camp south of Johannesburg.
Cebu arrived armed with a blanket, a tin pot of coffee and
a deck of cards three hoursbefore polls opened. Still, she was
far from first in line at three green and yellow tents set up on
a soccer field as polls for the Phola Park camp.
Results were expected today but there was little doubt the
winners would be with few exceptions black - if only
because most of the candidates are black.
Elias Maluleke was pleased several candidates running for
his community council in Johannesburg were neighbors.
"I've met them, I've sat and discussed with them. I know
what they want out of life," said Maluleke, who is black.
Tommy Swanepoel, a white retired policeman, feared
white conservatives would lose control in his town -
Ventersdorp, the headquarters of the neo-Nazi Afrikaner
Resistance Movement, west of Johannesburg.
"The biggest thing here is to make sure the white wards are
still run by whites," he said. "We already pay all the taxes
here and the blacks want us to pay overthere too. They think
we're all Father Christmas."
Mandela himself didn't vote yesterday because he had
registered in Cape Town. Disputes over districts' boundaries
postponed voting until next year in KwaZulu-Natal province
and the Cape Town metropolitan area. Procedural problems
also postponed balloting in some isolated rural areas, which
will hold elections later this year or next year.
A holiday was called for the elections. More than 15
million people were eligible to vote.
Going into the election, turnout had been expected to be
low because of voter apathy and confusion over a dual ballot
that asks people to vote for a candidate and then a party.
Many South Africans also complained Mandela's govern-
ment had failed to deliver on promises of jobs and houses
made before last year's election.
"Most ofus, we don't want to vote because the government
doesn't want to do anything for us," said Mongezeleli Nqilo,
27, outside a polling station in the Kayamandi black town-
ship near Stellenbosch in Western Cape province.
Among the logistical problems at some polling places
wereimproper ballot papers, missing materials, late officials
and even a lack of electricity.
Election officer Piet van Rooyen said the process was
slowedintheareajustsoutheastofJohannesburgbecausehis
staff had to argue with people whose names weren't on the
register but demanded to vote anyway.

task Chretien neither anticipated nor
wanted, and increasingly there are voices
suggesting he may not be up to it.
ChretienwaselectedinOctober1993,
on a platform of building economic
growth, not healing Canada's age-old
linguistic divisions. He stuck to that
agenda until a few days before the Que-
bec vote, when polls showed the sepa-
ratists might win. Then, a panicked
Chretien made belated promises to try
to meet Quebec's historic demands for
special recognition and protection ofits
language and culture.
A sample ofthe criticismhe is encoun-
tering was visible on the editorial pages
yesterday of the Globe and Mail, the
country's most influential newspaper.
"Mr. Chretien is, in truth, some-
thing of an anachronismjust when we
need a potent agent of change," the
paper said.

The Washington Post
MONTREAL - The Golden Age Center in the
heart of Montreal's old Jewish quarter is hum-
ming with activity. Seniors are making soapstone
statues, exercising in the health club, playing
mah-jongg and, in the auditorium, more than 100
are having an earnest discussion about whether
they should indeed fear the results of Monday's
referendum on Quebec sovereignty.
The seniors are concerned not so much about
the results of the referendum, in which 5 million
voters in the mostly French-speaking province
rejected independence from Canada by a margin
of 53,498 votes, barely more than 1 percentage
point. Much of their worry springs from what
followed, when Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau
said ina speech on election night that the vote had
been lost because of"money and the ethnic vote."
"I'm angry and I'm upset," said Reva Gesser,
82, who helped found the center more than 50
years ago and felt she and her community were
included in Parizeau's comment. "I don't care
what they think. Quebec is my homeland, Canada
is my country. I don't feel a stranger in this land."
The next day, Tuesday, Parizeau resigned, say-
ing he had long planned to do so and it was time for
others to take up the struggle for Quebec indepen-
dence. But he did not apologize for his words
about the vote, saying "they underline a reality
that exists."

Now, the seniors, and many of the rest of the 18
percent of Quebec's population for whom French
is not the native language, are uncertain about
their future here. The referendum not only ex-
posed fundamental differences between Quebec
and the rest of Canada, it laid bare the fault lines
between the French of Quebec and the "others."
Parizeau's remarks would be little more than an
ugly memory were it not for the fact that the battle
is not over: Separatist leaders say they intend to
hold a referendum on sovereignty again soon and
will not give up the cause despite their electoral
defeat. Some of those who fall under the umbrella
of the "ethnic vote" fear the separatists have an
ulterior motive behind disparaging remarks such
as Parizeau's.
"They want all the strangers to go out from
Quebec and then they will vote yes to separation,"
said a Monteral resident who emigrated from
Poland in 1970 and declined to give her name for
fear "it will cause trouble."
At the Jean Talon open-air farmers' market in
north Montreal,vendorsofalldifferent ethnic groups
pliedtheirwares,withItalianfruitstandsandbutcher
shops next to East European dairy shops. Geno
Klein, who came to Montreal from Czechoslovakia
37yearsago,restedhischappedhandsonthecounter
ofhisegg stand andsaidhedidn't think things would
get better with Parizeau gone.

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